Tasked with leading the attacking assault up front for their respective clubs, Bayern Munich’s Robert Lewandowski and AC Milan’s Krzysztof Piątek left their mark out on the pitch this past competitive season. Currently two of European football’s most deadly strike men with their ruthless approach inside the penalty area, the Poland National Team tandem individually demonstrated their killer mentality and efficiency in burying goals in bunches throughout, combining for a 44 league goals (22 a piece) that placed them amongst truly elite company - including Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappé.
The 30-year old Lewandowski, who was once considered too small, short and skinny by many observers during his teenage years in Poland, had made it his mission to turn skeptics into believers and become a success story. Through humble beginnings at lowly Znicz Pruszków, the Warsaw native’s deadly scoring touch and steadfast commitment to raising his fitness levels would soon initiate his meteoric rise to the top of his profession.
After two stellar seasons in the Polish Ekstraklasa with Lech Poznań, Lewandowski invaded German football in 2010 with vigor and a penchant for scoring when he joined Borussia Dortmund. Spanning four seasons at Signal Iduna Park for Die Schwarzgelben, the clinical forward tallied 74 Bundesliga goals, including four on 24 April 2013 in an arousing 4-1 first leg semi-final win over Real Madrid in the UEFA Champions League. Since moving to Bayern Munich at the start of the 2014-15 campaign, Lewandowski has sustained his torrid scoring pace for club, and country as captain, and with no signs of slowing down anytime soon. In the process, however, he has become the model number nine many back in his home country strive to emulate, including Krzysztof Piątek.
The 24-year old’s formative years at Zagłębie Lubin, before subsequently joining Cracovia in the Ekstraklasa, were inevitably the building blocks that would mould him into the razor sharp attacker we lay witness to today.
Piątek’s 21 goal return in his final season with the Kraków-based outfit in 2017-18 lured Serie A’s Genoa into bringing him aboard for an estimated €4m fee last summer. From that point forward, as Piątek came out guns blazing for the Liguria club, signing him proved to be one of the shrewdest bits of business on the continent.
Six spellbinding months on Italian soil and 19 goals later, AC Milan swooped in during the January transfer window to secure his signature for €35 million. With such a substantial sum laid out, the Rossoneri had fired a loud shot that reverberated around Italy, signaling intent to solidify this position long-term and stabilize the project with him as one of the pillars for the future.
For the first time this summer, the two Polish stars will collide in the International Champions Cup at Children’s Mercy Park in Kansas City on July 23rd when Milan and Bayern Munich add another chapter to their history in this competition. Albeit a friendly fixture, this locking of horns between the two number nines promises to turn heads and further validate what we all know to be true: Polish football is on the rise and has with it a bright future.